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‘Not for love of the lady,’ replied Gride, ‘for he said that no word
of love--his very words--had ever passed between ’em.’

‘He said!’ repeated Ralph, contemptuously. ‘But I like him for
one thing, and that is, his giving you this fair warning to keep
your--what is it?--Tit-tit or dainty chick--which?--under lock
and key. Be careful, Gride, be careful. It’s a triumph, too, to tear
her away from a gallant young rival: a great triumph for an old
man! It only remains to keep her safe when you have her--that’s

‘What a man it is!’ cried Arthur Gride, affecting, in the
extremity of his torture, to be highly amused. And then he added,
anxiously, ‘Yes; to keep her safe, that’s all. And that isn’t much, is

‘Much!’ said Ralph, with a sneer. ‘Why, everybody knows what
easy things to understand and to control, women are. But come,
it’s very nearly time for you to be made happy. You’ll pay the bond
now, I suppose, to save us trouble afterwards.’

‘Oh what a man you are!’ croaked Arthur.
‘Why not?’ said Ralph. ‘Nobody will pay you interest for the
money, I suppose, between this and twelve o’clock; will they?’

‘But nobody would pay you interest for it either, you know,’
returned Arthur, leering at Ralph with all the cunning and slyness
he could throw into his face.

‘Besides which,’ said Ralph, suffering his lip to curl into a smile,
‘you haven’t the money about you, and you weren’t prepared for
this, or you’d have brought it with you; and there’s nobody you’d
so much like to accommodate as me. I see. We trust each other in
about an equal degree. Are you ready?’

Gride, who had done nothing but grin, and nod, and chatter,

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